Asian and Black Covid-19 patients more likely to die from disease: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 24, 2021

According to a study carried out by Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust, Covid-19 patients of Asian and black descent suffered disproportionate rates of premature death from the infection.

The study, published in BMJ Open, looked at 1,737 patients to conduct one of the most comprehensive studies exploring Covid-19 outcomes in black, Asian, and minority ethnic populations.

The researchers looked at data from all patients aged 16 years or over with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. They had been admitted to the five acute hospitals within Barts Health NHS Trust, between 1 January and 13 May 2020.

The researchers included 1,737 patients in the analysis of whom 511 had died by day 30 (29 per cent). 538 patients (31 per cent) were from Asian, 340 (20 per cent) black, and 707 (40 per cent) white backgrounds.

Compared with white patients, those from minority ethnic backgrounds were younger and less frail, the study noted.

Other findings

Furthermore, Asian patients were 1.54 times more likely, and black patients 1.8 times more likely, to be admitted to ICU and to receive invasive ventilation, compared to white patients.

After adjustment for age and sex, patients from Asian backgrounds were 1.49 times more likely to die compared to those from white backgrounds, and patients from black backgrounds were 1.30 times more likely to die.

Also, Asian and black patients experienced a 50-80 per cent increased risk of receiving mechanical ventilation in ICU compared with white patients of a similar age.

Dr. Yize Wan, Clinical Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London and Specialty Registrar in Intensive Care Medicine & Anaesthesia at Barts Health NHS Trust said in the study: "Our study shows the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black and Asian groups in the first peak.”

He added: Black and Asian people admitted to Barts Health hospitals with Covid-19 were significantly younger in age, had greater acute disease severity, and higher mortality relative to white patients of the same age and baseline health.”

According to Dr. Wan, the impact of Covid-19 continues to be seen within the community, the importance of responding to the ethnic disparities unmasked during the Covid-19 pandemic is crucial to prevent entrenching and inflicting them on future generations.

Dr. Vanessa Apea, Consultant Physician in Sexual Health and HIV at Barts Health NHS Trust and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, added: "Authentic community based participatory research to understand the drivers of these differences, and co-creation of solutions are key to achieving health equity in these communities."

Published on January 24, 2021

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